clandestina

Migration and Struggle in Greece

Posts Tagged ‘Fortress European Union’

Stop another 5 year program of death and detention!30 Nov – 1 Dec 2009, Brussels – Transnational Protests against Justice and Home Affairs Meeting

Posted by clandestina on 2 November 2009

SOURCE: NO RACISM NET

Stop another 5 year program of death and detention!

30th of November and 1st of December 2009 in Brussels – Transnational Protests in front of the EU – Justice and Home Affairs – Meeting

Refugee Protection and Migrants Rights instead of a brutal EU-Border-regime! No to the repressive Stockholm program! After Tampere and The Hague, the Stockholm program will constitute the next 5-year-framework for Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) within the EU and its memberstates. The new program claims to build up the ‘area of freedom, justice and security’. But in fact it will continue to implement an even tighter regime of surveillance and control and will promote a securitisation of social life, undermining all civil rights and privacy despite contrary claims.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Frontex, the Movie feat. noborder camp in Lesvos 2009

Posted by clandestina on 20 July 2009

source: http://lesvos09.antira.info/2009/07/frontex-the-movie-feat-noborder-camp-in-lesvos-2009/

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Rift Between the North and the South

Posted by clandestina on 18 July 2009

SOURCE: NOBORDERS BRIGHTON

Rift Between the North and the South

The rift between the northern and southern EU states is set to grow larger as yesterday’s meeting of EU Interior Ministers in Stockholm postponedany re-examination of the Dublin II Regulation till 2014. The Dublin II Regulation, which stipulates that migrants must apply for asylum in the first EU member state they enter, has resulted in what southern EU states claim is disproportionate pressure on the immigrant reception services in Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta.

Roberto Maroni, Italy’s interior minister and member of the right wing Lega Nord, demanded that the issue of ‘burden-sharing’ should be one of the top priorities in the EU’s new five-year plan on justice issues. As a result, the EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot agreed to make the European Refugee Fund applicable to all incoming migrants, not just those successfully claiming asylum and that several million euros in aid will be given to the Mediterranean states to spend on additional reception centres, food and social support for migrants.

This comes against the backdrop of a number of other recent developments. On Wednesday, the Greek and Italian Prime Ministers met and agreed on a common front to push for EU policy to curbing the numbers of illegal migrants, negotiating repatriation pacts between Brussels and the migrants’ states of origin and transit countries and increasing the role of the EU’s border monitoring agency Frontex.

Wednesday also saw the deportation of 90 migrants by air to Pakistan and Afghanistan, the latest in a growing number of flights from Athens as Greece seeks to remove the 99% plus of migrants whose asylum claims the Greek state routinely turns down.

Earlier in the week the UNHCR criticised both countries for their immigration policies. Greece was criticised for the decision to destroy the Patras migrant camp and deport some of the migrants before their asylum claims had been examined. It also appealed to Greece to avoid so-called “push-backs” of migrants originating from war zones (Greece regularly buses migrants back to Turkey without any due process).

Athens has recently accused Ankara of failing to stop clandestine immigration through Turkish territory, which the Greeks, and now even the EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot, say has pushed their resources to the limit and is destabilising “Greek democracy” (a reference to the recent election of extreme right wing LAOS MEPs). Interestingly, new figures from the Greek coastguard show a pronounced drop in migrant interceptions over the past few months.

Greece officials have also been examining disused army barracks to open as temporary reception centres for the thousands of migrants awaiting the processing of their asylum applications. One likely choice is a disused military site on the island of Evia.

Italy has also been the recipient of forceful criticism from the UNHCR about its use of force when intercepting 82 mainly Eritrean migrants on July 1st 30 miles off the Lampedusa coast, who were then returned to Libya under Italy’s own ‘push-back’ immigration policy. A ”significant number” of people on board the boat, including nine women and six children, were returned illegally as they had legitimate claims to asylum status, the agency claimed.

In an astonishing fit of pique, Italy’s EU Affairs Minister, Andrea Ronchi, rebuffed the criticism, saying the UNHCR ”should be ashamed of itself” and should ”apologise to Italy” over the allegations. ”These are hasty, false, demagogic, offensive and repugnant accusations that offend our armed forces, who every day demonstrate their morality, their dedication, humanity, competence and sacrifice”.

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“Excuse me, Mr. Minister – she said – what difference is there between dying at sea and dying in Libya?”

Posted by clandestina on 16 July 2009

source: fortresseurope.blogspot

The massacre continues: 459 deaths in the first 6 months of 2009

gommoneROME, 2 July 2009 – The number of deaths at the border fell for the first time over the last three years. In the first semester of 2009, the victims reported by the international press along the routes of emigration in the Mediterranean have been 434, to which the 25 people who disappeared along land borders must be added, including the three boys who ended up under lorries in the Italian Adriatic harbours. Last year, over the same period, there had been 985 documented deaths. The figures –based on news from the international press- were divulged by the Fortress Europe observatory. The main reason for the decrease in shipwrecks is the objective decrease in the number of arrivals, particularly in Italy and Spain. Since the start of returns to Libya on 7 May, arrivals by boat in Sicily can be counted on one hand. And in the Canary islands in Spain, there has not been any arrival by boat in the months of April and May, and very few boats arrived in the archipelago in June. This is an effect of the returns in the high seas and joint patrol operations enacted by Frontex in Senegal and Mauritania. However, it is still too early to compare data. In fact, very little news arrives from the press in countries to the south of the Mediterranean on this issue. For this reason, it cannot stated with any certainty whether the deaths have decreased or whether the shipwrecks occur further away from the gaze of our cameras, off the Libyan coast or in the high seas.

In detail, according to the data collected from the international press by Fortress Europe, there were 339 victims along the route towards Malta and Lampedusa in the first semester of 2008 (compared with 650 in the same period of 2008), 87 off the Spanish coast (compared with 136 in 2008) and 8 in the Aegean Sea (compared with 199 in 2008), between Turkey and Greece. There is only news of one victim on the way between Algeria and Sardinia. A corpse that was fished out of the water near to the Cavoli island in the Cagliari region, whose origin may lie in a shipwreck about which there are no available details. Other three emigrants, most probably Afghan refugees, lost their lives under lorries that disembarked in the Italian Adriatic harbours after the crossing from Greece. In Egypt, three refugees were killed after being shot by the Egyptian police at the border with Israel. Two people died in Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Morocco, as they tried to climb over the six-metre barrier that seals that border. There were also two victims in Calais, in France, where the harbour and Channel Tunnel represent an obligatory passage to enter England illegally. Finally, there were supposedly at least 14 victims of the crossing of the Sahara during the first half of the year, according to the very few pieces of information arriving from Saharan countries.

June has also been a month in which deaths were counted: 29 in the Gibraltar Strait, off the Spanish coasts; 3 in Egypt, shot by the police at the Israeli border; and one in Italy, who was called Amir Rohol, was 19 years old and an Afghan asylum seeker. He died after falling off an articulated lorry that had disembarked in Ancona, along the junction between Clearway 76 and the A14 motorway.

Many are likely to use this data to justify the returns to Libya. Joseph St. John, an official from the Maltese interior ministry also stated this during a seminar in which I took part on 17 June in Malta. Refuse entry to save human lives. From the audience, an Ethiopian woman refugee raised her hand to intervene. “Excuse me, Mr. Minister – she said – what difference is there between dying at sea and dying in Libya?”. I don’t feel that there is much more to add about this.

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Spain and Greece pledge to continue anti-immigrant terror in the Mediterranean

Posted by clandestina on 14 July 2009

source

Spain and Greece to cooperate against illegal immigration

Europe News

Jul 13, 2009, 14:46 GMT

Madrid – Spain and Greece on Monday pledged to jointly renew efforts to fight illegal immigration into the European Union.

Spain will intensify such measures when it takes over the EU presidency in the first half of 2010, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said at a joint press conference with his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis in Madrid.

Spain will focus on strengthening the European frontier control agency Frontex and on seeking repatriation agreements with undocumented immigrants’ countries of origin, Zapatero said.

The agreements should also include cooperation programmes to promote the social and economic development of the countries in question, in order to discourage their citizens from seeking better lives abroad, Zapatero said.

Karamanlis proposed a European coast guard to improve maritime surveillance.

Spain and Greece were among the European countries most concerned by the influx of immigrants across the Mediterranean, Zapatero said.

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UNHCR: Greece’s new immigration policies based on “dangerous generalizations”

Posted by clandestina on 10 July 2009

Q&A: Greece’s new immigration policies based on “dangerous generalizations”

10 Jul 2009 15:47:04 GMT
Source: UNHCR
ATHENS, Greece, July 10 (UNHCR) – Greece has introduced strict policies aimed at combating irregular immigration and passed legislation that could compromise the effective protection of people applying for asylum for the first time or on appeal. Charis Karanikas of the Ta Nea daily newspaper recently met Giorgios Tsarbopoulos, head of UNHCR’s office in Athens, to talk about the implications of this new legislation and a police crackdown on alleged illegal immigrants.
Excerpts from the interview:
What do you think of the latest measures?
The reasoning behind them is based on dangerous generalizations. We cannot speak only about “illegal” immigrants. Amongst them are many people who are in need of protection and whom the state is obligated to protect.
Should police measures be beefed up?
Yes, as regards the smugglers and the traffickers. But the problem cannot be handled only by police measures. Harsher policing at the border must be coupled with the creation of reception facilities.
What can be done in neighbourhoods inundated by immigrants?
Firstly, all those who are entitled to it under the law should be referred to special accommodation facilities. They include asylum-seekers and unaccompanied minors. Today, hundreds of people who have a right to this are homeless. In general, there is a need for shelter planning, regardless of whether people are legal or illegal.Will the violence seen in the central Athens neighbourhood of Agios Panteleimon, home to many homeless Afghan migrants and asylum-seekers, spread to other areas?I hope not.
How can this be avoided?
By isolating the extreme reactions, which simply serve to shift the problem. And through a dialogue between the government and the political parties, initiatives taken by the municipalities as well as talks with organizations of immigrants and refugees.
Do you agree with transforming military camps into reception centres?
Reception facilities and administrative detention centres for immigrants in view of their deportation are two separate things. It’s not enough to turn some installations into detention centres if you pretend to create proper reception conditions.
Can Greece address this problem alone?
No.
What’s your opinion about the European Union’s stand on the matter?
It is steering clear of establishing binding mechanisms and practices for fairer responsibility sharing among the member states.
How many immigrants arrive in Greece each year?
In 2008, 146,337 people were arrested for “illegally entering and residing” in the country. There are, of course, others who have not been arrested. On the other hand, an unknown number of those who have been arrested were already residing in the country. Therefore the official data needs further analysis.
How many of them end up in existing reception centres?
All those who enter the country without papers are detained for up to three months at the administrative detention centres. Those who request asylum are transferred to open reception centres, which are too few to meet demand.
What are conditions like at these centres?
Most of the detention centres do not meet the basic conditions of human rights. The exceptions include the new centres on the island of Samos and in the Evros region [Filakio], however both are faced with problems of overcrowding.
What about reception conditions?
Reception facilities in border areas should include services and specialized staff in order to ensure the identification of people who are entitled to protection, assessment of their needs, information about their rights and obligations, and facilitation for their access to the asylum procedure.
Do you think the number of people who apply for asylum is less than the number who need it?
Those who deserve asylum are fewer than those who request it. And those who request it are not all refugees who genuinely deserve it.
Why don’t those who need asylum apply for it?
It’s because they don’t get the right information or legal advice, especially in the border areas. It’s also because they don’t manage to submit their application . . . or because they don’t trust Greece’s very problematic asylum system.
What are the main problems with Greece’s asylum system?
The initial processing and decision-making is unreliable, and the refugee recognition rate is almost zero. Not all asylum claims are registered swiftly, while many asylum-seekers lose their right to appeal. The procedure for adjudicating the claims is extremely slow.
What are the most common complaints you get from immigrants and refugees?
Delays in the adjudication of their asylum applications; lack of shelter and social care; informal push-backs or returns to Turkey across the Evros River [in north-east Greece], cases of ill-treatment.
And what do you do about them?
It depends. We address formal letters to the authorities; we try to solve the problem in an ad hoc way if possible; and we often refer individual cases to non-governmental organizations which provide legal and social support.

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The need of oppressive states to share the risk of social unrest – “Immigration Is A Threat To Greek Democracy” says EU Commissioner

Posted by clandestina on 3 July 2009

The antagonism between states is the game under which the share of the fear or the risk of social unrest due to harsh economic and social conditions becomes itself something to be negotiated between players.   Migration “flows” are a parameter of this risk – certainly not the only one, and not the severest one , since non migrant populations have also many reasons to resist.

Notwithstanding the inter-state antagonism,  though, the best strategy for all states to have their powers unchallenged is to scapegoat someone for the domestic problems, and the best way to do that in the case of Greece is to blur preemptively any social reaction – by immigrants and non-immigrants – in the national threat / political “destabilisation” discourse.   Barrot, thus, mingles the traditional external enemy (Turkey) with the novel internal one (immigrants) for the Greek government and offers a service of disorientation. 

clandestinenglish

Source of the article.


Immigration Is A Threat To Greek Democracy – EU Commissioner

Thursday, 2 July 2009 – 17:09

BRUSSELS (AFP)–A huge flow of migrants through Turkey could threaten social unrest in Greece, European Union Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot said Thursday.

“There is a major threat to the equilibrium of the Greek democracy because of the uncontrollable flow of immigration,” Barrot told a press conference in Brussels.

Greece has accused Turkey of failing to stop clandestine immigration through Turkish territory which the Greeks say has pushed their resources to the limit.

Greek Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos Tuesday said the number of migrants detained in Greece tripled to 148,000 in 2008 from 40,000 in 2006.

Europe’s asylum legislation puts pressure on the first E.U. country that receives applicants to handle their claims, but the rules could change in the next six months.

Immigration is causing social tension in Greece and is used as an argument by the extreme right, which saw its share of the vote rise to 7% in recent European parliamentary elections.

Barrot visited Greece this week and called on Turkey to do more to tackle clandestine immigration.

“Turkey has to help us fight the facilitators and the traffickers who push people to make risky journeys,” he said in Brussels.

“We can’t simply remain motionless. We have to get much firmer control from the Turkish government. We would also encourage the Turks to sign a readmission agreement,” the French commissioner said.

He added that he would like to see readmission agreements with Pakistan and other Asian nations, from where some would-be migrants begin their journeys.

Barrot said he intended to relaunch debate on immigration during an informal meeting of E.U. interior and justice ministers in Stockholm July 15-16.

E.U. nations Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta are in the frontline of the battle against migrants without papers and are gearing up for the summer wave of arrivals by sea.

Other E.U. nations refuse to be constrained to accept numbers of asylum seekers to help the four, with some stressing that they have to concentrate on the E.U.’s eastern borders in the former Soviet Union.

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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The Greek – Turkish diplomatic gaming with refugee lives continues while Jacques Barrot cruises the Agean…

Posted by clandestina on 30 June 2009

source:

http://www.ekathimerini.com/

Ankara snubs migrant repatriation pact

Asked about Greek calls for the reopening of the Orthodox Seminary on the island of Halki near Istanbul, Bagis said he backed it in principle but linked it to the thorny issue of the Muslim minority in Thrace. Meanwhile, Turkey’s Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay indicated, in an interview with the Turkish mass-circulation daily Milliyet, that Ankara was leaning toward reopening the seminary. “Both my personal and the general inclination is that the school will be opened,” Gunay was quoted as saying.

While Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis and her Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday pledged to work together on bilateral issues in their first meeting on the sidelines of an international summit on Corfu, Turkey’s Minister for European Union Affairs revealed, in an interview published in yesterday’s Kathimerini, that Ankara would not be honoring a bilateral repatriation pact with Greece.

“We refuse to become the world’s biggest refugee camp,” Egemin Bagis said, noting that bilateral pacts such as the one signed by Athens and Ankara should only be honored if similar pacts are agreed between so-called transit countries for would-be migrants, such as Turkey, and countries of origin, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Bagis also reiterated Ankara’s opposition to the idea of a special partnership for Turkey with the EU. “We will accept nothing less than full membership. There is no alternative.”

source: http://www.ana-mpa.gr

Visit to Samos migrant centre

European Commission Vice-president Jacques Barrot, responsible for justice, freedom and security, on Monday paid a visit to reception facilities for illegal immigrants on the eastern Aegean island of Samos, accompanied by Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos. In statements afterwards, he acknowledged that Greek authorities faced a difficult task but also stressed Greece’s obligation to provide a refuge for immigrants arriving on its shores.

“I understand the difficulty facing the Greek government, which finds itself having to deal with an ever increasing number of migrants, as well as the obligation for Community solidarity, but also that there is an obligation on the part of the Greek government to offer refuge to the foreigners that come here,” Barrot said.

The Commissioner, upon his arrival on the island, was given a tour of the French vessel belonging to the EU Frontex agency and visited the Migrant Reception Centre on the island, where he talked with immigrants detained there.

In statements to reporters, he said that this was a more general problem that cost human lives and required cooperation with non-EU countries of origin or transit in order to be solved.

Pavlopoulos declared himself satisfied with what he had seen at the Samos centre and what the Commissioner had witnessed regarding Greece’s efforts to tackle a problem that concerned all of Europe.

“It can be understood that Greece is currently receiving the greater number of illegal immigrants. It is making huge efforts to accelerate asylum processes but, as I explained to Mr. Barrot, and as he has himself acknowledged, this does not solve the more general problem that concerns illegal immigrants who are not seeking asylum,” the minister said.

According to Pavlopoulos, coping with the economic migrants required solidarity between EU nations.

“We must carry out the agreement for migration and asylum, which means signing readmission treaties and putting pressure on countries such as Turkey to honour those agreements that exist. The solution, as Mr. Barrot will explain in Athens on Tuesday, is to look at the root of the problem, and this means that we must stamp out all this illegal trafficking of migrants that exploits human lives,” he stressed.

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EU group deportations by charter flight

Posted by clandestina on 25 June 2009

“Sweep operations”, mass arrests, mass detention, group deportations with charter flights.  The Greek Government seems determined to turn this cascade of events into a routine this summer.  This is an article about the last step – charter flighsts – we found at no-racism-net.

clandestinenglish

EU group deportations by charter flight – Hamburg as forerunner

On the 29.4.2004, the European council decided to organise group flights for deporting migrants and refugees who “are required to depart”. The “rehearsal” for flights like this took place from 25 to the 26.5.04 in Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel.

The ban on night flights was lifted, the airport turned into a prison and at around 2am eight refugees from four different states were flown to Amsterdam in a KLM plane to be deported to Togo and Cameroon along with 44 other refugees from five EU countries. Since then, there has been at least seven such group deportations to Africa, not only to Togo and Cameroon but also to Guinea, Ghana, Benin and Nigeria. Further charter flights took place from Düsseldorf (see overview at :: Flüchtlingsrat Hamburg)
In July 2005 at a meeting in Evian, the so-called G5 states (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain) reaffirmed that they would plan deportations together in future. Shortly afterwards the airports in London and Paris were the setting for the joint deportation to Afghanistan. Further flights followed.

Saving costs and business

Such deportation flights are carried out with chartered aeroplanes from different airines e.g. Hamburg International (see box), Aero Flight (the company has since registered concourse), Hello (Swiss company), LTU, Westtours or the Austrian airlines Asylum Airlines founded especially for this purpose. They fly from country to country to round up detainees without valid residency permits, usually in late-night stings and with brutal violence. Or refugees are brought to the place of departure with loading planes, sometimes in small private jets. Around 140 000 euros is what a group deportation costs, and around 70 percent of this is reimbursed by the EU. “If I get the machine full, one deportee costs around 1000 Euros.
From 20 people and up, the cost per head sinks below the price of a scheduled deportation flight”, explained a leading employee of the Hamburg Immigration Authorities to the magazine “Leben” in the newspaper :: “Zeit”. But saving costs through a large number of deportees is not the main reason for carrying out group deportations. An example: In March 2008 the first charter deportation flight from Ireland took place – with only six refugees in the 110 seat machine. What is essential, is that a charter flight carrying only deportees is occupied with more than twice as many policemen, a doctor as well as employees of the involved immigration authorities and the European border protection agency Frontex, and so publicity is completely excluded and resistance is hardly possible.

Protests on charter flights with inhumane measures

In charter flights in recent years it often came to protests from passengers and some of them are on trial, for example in France. If passengers refuse to sit down then a flight cannot take off due to safety reasons. It is also possible for flight attendants to refuse to
carry out deportations. Air France had a one such a campaign with union workers in Summer 2007. The German pilot union, Cockpit, recommends its members to ask people affected by deportations whether they want to fly and if they answer “no” to refuse to transport them because otherwise, in case of death or injury from deportees, the pilot could be sued. Specialty deportation charter flights cannot expect such problems since the staff is specially chosen and mistreatment could occur unnoticed. Only afterwards, in reports from deportees, facts about the operation like medication used to “calm” them, being tied up, gagged, and hit and other illegal measures on board the charter machines were leaked to the public. The authorities justified this mistreatment by claiming that the deportees were “criminal offenders” and “violent”. It’s a fact that for authorities, “illegal” residency is a criminal act and cries of protest or resistance against being tied up or gagged are labelled as “violence” – but not what is done to the refugees.

Dieser Artikel ist mit leichten Änderungen dem :: Camp08 Reader entnommen.

alt text fehlt!

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Foreign Minister prioritizes bilateral deportation agreements and FRONTEX increased presence (vessels and headquarters) in Greece

Posted by clandestina on 17 June 2009

source: http://www.isria.com/pages/16_June_2009_74.htm

Greece: Foreign Minister Bakoyannis statements following the EU General Affairs Council (Luxembourg, 15 June 2009)

Ms. Bakoyannis: We had a very important discussion in the General Affairs Council today, in preparation for the European Council. We looked at a range of foreign policy issues  mainly the Middle East problem, which is coming back into the focus of interest following the recent Obama and Netanyahu statements, and Greece once again had the opportunity to take a stance and point to the need to hasten the Middle East peace process.

This evening, I will have a private discussion with some of my colleagues from the south – the Mediterranean – in view of the effort that is being made to facilitate this process.

We talked about the Lisbon Treaty, we answered our Irish colleagues questions, and of course we moved ahead to discuss institutional issues, such as the need for the new European Commission posts to be filled as soon as possible if the Treaty goes into force.

On a Greek initiative, we had a detailed discussion of the illegal migration issue. I should tell you here that Greece found a lot of support from many countries – Mediterranean countries, northern European countries, countries in central Europe, that agreed with our basic position: that dealing with the illegal migration issue requires European solidarity.

European solidarity that must be achieved in practice. With an upgrading of Frontex; that is, with a greater presence of vessels in the Aegean, for example, to guard borders. But at the same time, with economic participation in handling migrants, who we must never forget, and this is being discussed a lot in Greece right now � are human beings.

They are human beings who have rights, human beings who are desperate, human beings without financial means, human beings who invest all their hopes in a boat and come across.

So our handling of them must be humanitarian, and that is what Greece will do with the reception centers that we are setting up. But we need help and we need the treaties, which also have to be humanitarian , treaties for their repatriation.

Journalist: This issue will be discussed on Friday morning, on the second day of the European Council. I would like to ask you, with regard to the substance of the discussion: What is Greece pursuing in terms of the text of the final conclusions, and what do you expect in terms of the initiatives that will be undertaken by the Swedish Presidency?

Ms. Bakoyannis: We had a long discussion about the text today. The current draft of the text does not satisfy us. What we want is for specific mention to be made of the repatriation that I mentioned earlier; that is, specific reference to conditions under which the European Union will sign agreements with states, so that we, as the European Union,  can repatriate people who come.

At the same time, explicit reference to specific countries. There are essentially two countries that illegal migrants transit or originate from and that are currently engaging Europe: Turkey and Libya. So there has to be a specific policy on these countries, and of course on the economic support that I talked about for managing and upgrading Frontex within Greek territory.

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